Burning Daylight: Paper Bead Necklaces
In summers past, I’ve spent a lot of the time moaning about the endless amounts of daylight I needed to burn with my kids. As evidence please see July of last year and the non-stop stream of craft projects going on in our house and being written about here at the Buzz Off. This summer has been a lot easier and I wish it was because I’m almost 35 and I’m now a nicer, calmer mother who enjoys the endless hours with my kids each summer. Unfortunately that isn’t the case but between my kid’s growing sense of independence and our new (child-filled) neighborhood I haven’t been able to sit down with the kids to do a project of some sort until this week. Even then I was racing to get the project done so the kids could go to a neighbor’s house to swim.
We spent some time at the craft store trying to come up with a project to do together. There was a paper bead necklace kit from Martha Stewart’s craft line caught my daughter’s eye but it seemed a little silly to me to buy the kit when we have all sorts of extra paper sitting around our house and could reuse all of that.
We came home empty handed and decided to do the project ourselves. Here’s how we made our own paper bead necklace.
This is what you need:
You can use any paper you have around the house, construction paper, newspaper, junk mail or even wrapping paper. We used some crafting paper we had in the basement.
3.A Glue Stick
5.A Wooden Skewer or Straw
Something to roll your paper around, you don’t need this but we found it kept our beads tight.
Cut your paper into strips. If you make your strips triangular you’ll get a more interesting pattern when you roll up your beads.
With the backside (the part of the paper that rolls up inside) face up, apply glue to the thinnest part of your strip down to about the middle.
Starting at the widest part of your paper strip, start rolling your paper around the skewer. If you’re careful to keep each side rolling at the same rate, you’ll end up with an oval bead. This is more important to your anally retentive mother and less important to the nine-year-old crafter.
When you’re all done you’ll have a bead. Make sure you have enough glue on your bead or it will start to come undone.
Do this a lot more times and you’ll have a small pile of beads ready to be strung on your elastic cord.
Now cut your elastic cord to the size you’d like and start stringing on your beads. You can do them randomly or you can have a pattern in mind. We had a very well thought out pattern that involved several failed stringing attempts.
Ta-Da! Now you have your own handmade necklace that is, coincidentally, sort of green (if you reuse paper and don’t just buy new).
We burned just about an hour of daylight working on this project but we could have easily spent more time making more necklaces for friends.
This project really only works for the 10 and up set. My nine-year-old had trouble rolling the paper and got a little frustrated. My seven-year-old didn’t want a necklace to begin with and would have had trouble making the beads.
The Martha Stewart kit we were inspired by came with the self adhesive paper strips which would be quite handy. However, it seems a little wasteful to me when we have so much paper just sitting around our house for this project. I think to make your beads especially strong and to keep them from unraveling it might be a good idea to coat them in Mod Podge once they’re all rolled up. Let them dry and then string them onto your cord.
Overall this is a nice project for older kids, not so much for little ones.Published July 29, 2008. Last updated July 14, 2018.